A Gouge… or a Gift: Round bales and generators

During the last several months,  an endless trail of flatbed trucks have shipped hay to the parched portions of Texas.  I’ve seen it on I-10, I-20, and even our state highways.  Word is that they’re selling these large round hay bales for $100-150 each in Texas.  They’re buying them for $25-50 each from areas blessed with adequate rainfall.

I’ve been thinking about this:  Is this gouging or simply meeting a need through our American free enterprise system?

That’s a good question.  The thought took me back to 2005 and Hurricane Rita.  SW Louisiana was dealt a knockout blow by Katrina’s little sister.  We lost electrical power and water for an extended period.  It was hot, everything was in short supply, and people were desperate.

All the Good Things About Hurricanes
Inside of "Everything Good about Hurricanes."

About a week after the storm, an 18-wheeler arrived near Elizabeth.  It was loaded with generators supposedly from Michigan. They sold them off the back of the truck for $1200 each.

People lined up and paid cash for these generators that would’ve normally retailed for $600.  The ones who bought a generator were happy to get them.  It allowed families to at least run fans and have minimal lighting and appliances.

Was this price gouging or meeting a need?

I’d be interested to hear your comments on this.

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